Bilingual Poem: Hey, what’s that?

Doctor’s visit.

Hey, what’s that?

That looks like a needle.

Tetanus shot?

No one said anything about a tetanus shot.

Hey, wait …



Visita de medico.

¿Oye, qué esa?

Ése parece como una aguja.

¿Una inyección de tétanos?

No uno habló nada de una inyección de tétanos.

Oye, espera …



Poem with an explanation: the hail storm

the sun rises
as darkness falls
hurrying out
into the hail storm

from the moment the wheels
to the halls of stone
the jackals bite
the hyenas laugh

into the cave
the walls of respite
but only for a moment
then to the storm

the sentinels’ eyes
are turned away
their ears of stone
do not hear

the wheels again
and steps are taken
nightmares continue
during the day

through the glass
the crowd jeers
and comforting hands
are somewhere else

into the night
a place of escape
dreading the moment
of the sun’s return


This poem is about being bullied.  In the poem, there is a little boy who is bullied at school.

The boy wakes up (the sun rises) and the reality that he will be bullied that day hits him as he does (as darkness falls).  In a strange situation, he has to hurry to get ready to go to school (hurrying out), a place he really doesn’t want to go (into the hail storm).

As soon as the bus comes (from the moment the wheels) the bullying starts.  It continues at school (to the halls of stone), where bullies harass the boy (the jackals bite) while their friends laugh (the hyenas laugh).

During lunch, the boy hides in the bathroom (into the cave the walls of respite), but lunch is only so long (but only for a moment) and he has to go back among the bullies (then to the storm).

Teachers in the school don’t seem to notice what is happening (the sentinels’ eyes are turned away their ears of stone do not hear).

When the school day is over, the bus takes the boy home (the wheels again) and the boy walks inside his house (and steps are taken).  Rather than finding relief though, the pain the boy experiences continues (nightmares continue during the day).

The bullies harass the boy through social media while others find it humorous and join in (through the glass the crowd jeers). The boy’s parents, seeing him as weak and not understanding the severity of the problem, don’t provide him any comfort (and comforting hands are somewhere else).

The boy goes to sleep (into the night) and finds some peace in the unconsciousness (a place of escape), but at the same time, he dreads the next morning (dreading the moment of the sun’s return).

This poem is about continued plight.  It is about someone feeling helpless.


If you like poems with explanations, M. Sakran has an eBook of them.  It is called Understanding: poems with explanations.  It is a collection of twenty original poems, with explanations of each of them. The main purpose of the book is to help readers expand their understanding of poetry through the explanations.

The poems in the book cover a variety of topics such as poverty, homelessness, pain, neglect, crime and illness.

The explanations look at the overall meanings of the poems, the meanings of individual parts of the poems, and form in the poems.

Poem: Roller Coaster

Although they were polite,
they said he could not ride,
the roller coaster,
because the bar,
would not fit on him.

He had to walk,
the entire line back,
as he tried to look,
like nothing was wrong.

He sat at home that night,
and didn’t know what to say.

The next morning,
after he tied his laces,
and started to walk,
he knew next year,
he would ride the ride.

Poem with an explanation: Pound ounce

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
the eyes close,
in silence.

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
the statue changes,
its expression.

With the chain,
around the leg,
the rock nearby,
seems like the moon.

In the shoes,
for the grain of sand,
the hands are held,
and eyes open.

Pound ounce,
pound ounce,
waiting for the day,
without pound ounce.


This poem is about a person who hurt their foot.  They hit their foot on something and are in considerable pain days later.  They have not sought medical attention, and, despite the pain, they believe their foot is not broken.  They try to go about their day as best they can.

When the person walks, they step heavily with their good leg in attempt to move themselves forward and support their weight.  They step lightly with their hurt foot because of the pain.  The heavy step is symbolized with the weight “pound” (which also symbolizes the pounding of the step into the ground) and the light step is symbolized with the weight “ounce”.  Each “pound ounce” set (except for the last) refers to the person taking a step forward.

In the first stanza, the person takes two steps.  They feel pain and close their eyes as they cringe.  They don’t make a noise, as holding the sound in, in some way, holds the pain in.

In the second stanza, the person takes two more steps.  The person, being relatively immobile, is described as a statue.  Their facial expression changes because of the pain.

In the third stanza, the idea of relative distance is examined.  The person has trouble walking.  This is symbolized as them having a chain around their leg.  Because of this, something that is nearby seems as though it is far away.  This is symbolized by the idea of the moon.  The moon looks nearby when it is bright and full, almost as if it were a few hundred feet or a few miles away.  In reality, this is an illusion, and the moon is very far away.  It looks close, but is at a considerable distance.  This relates to the object the person wants, that is in reality close, but because of their ailment is as if it is a considerable distance away.

The person’s condition has taught them empathy.  The person, so to speak, is “walking in the shoes” of someone who is disabled.  They are experience what having a disability is like, even if only for a brief time (for the grain of sand – as in one grain of sand falling in an hour glass, which represents a very small amount of time).  This causes them to feel a connection to the disabled (the hands are held) and they open their eyes (metaphorically) to their situation.

In the last stanza, the person takes two more steps, and in their pain, they feel like they are waiting for the day when the pain is gone and they can walk normally.

Experimental Poetry Form: Refrains

C – R

          D – R

F – R

          D – R

I – R

          D – R

This experimental poetry form has a number of elements.

There are six stanzas (assuming refrain lines are considered stanzas).  There is a three line stanza, followed by a refrain line.  Then a two line stanza, followed by the refrain line.  Then a three line stanza, followed by the refrain line.

As noted above, the form has three refrain lines.  The refrain lines are indented ten spaces.

All of the lines are written in iambic tetrameter.

The last lines of each multiline stanza rhyme, along with the refrain lines.

The main aspect of this form is the refrain.  The idea here is to repeat the line for significance.  The rhyming also adds to that effect.

Here is an example poem written in the form:

When after a small step that’s short,
a hammer strikes upon the back,
and to the floor a form does fall,

          a sense of life does fill it all.

A cringe, a wince and then the breath,
as light does flee without a call,

          a sense of life does fill it all.

As one does stand and see that space,
a soft white cloud does float on down,
and rest upon the broken wall,

          a sense of life does fill it all.



On Friday, one of M. Sakran’s dogs died.

His name was Shadow.  He was a good dog and is loved.  The sadness now is hard to describe.

If anyone could say something nice, even a poem, please use the box below.  It would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Post Series: The Poems with Explanations Series: Step, step, step

Step, step, step

Step, step, step, held up
one, two, three, four is carried
step, step, step, held up
the top stays up and balanced
and one, two, three, a light goes
sympathy at thirty flies
ignorance at forty next
step, step, step, held up
one, two, three, four is carried
step, step, step, held up


This poem is about a dog limping down the road.  The poem is written with syllables counts of a tanka followed by a mirrored tanka that has the syllable counts in the reverse order.  Additionally, the poem has repeats.  Lines one, two and three, are the same as lines eight, nine and ten.  Additionally, within that, lines one, three, eight and ten are the same, and lines two and nine are the same.

The first line describes the dog limping.  The dog takes three steps, but can’t put its fourth leg down.  The second line reinforces this idea and the third repeats it.

The fourth line uses a top as a metaphor for how the dog is balanced on three legs.  The fifth line describes the pain the dog feels each time it moves its hurt leg.

Lines six and seven describe cars driving by.  The car in line six is going thirty miles per hour and the person inside notices the dog and has sympathy for it.  The car in line seven is going forty miles per hour, and the person inside does not notice the dog.

Lines eight, nine and ten, repeat lines one, two and three and are about the dog continuing to limp on after the cars drive by.

Post Series: The Poems with Explanations Series: Understanding

Today will be the start of a new post series on M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things.  Past post series have been: The Christmas Series, Seven Apples, The Citrus Series, The Tea Series, and The Orange Series.  This will be The Poems with Explanations Series.

This series will be a series of poems with explanations.  Poems with explanations have appeared frequently on this blog, and this will be a series of them.

The series will start with this post and contain nine other posts.  The series will run from today through Friday March 18, unless something interrupts it.

The idea of poems with explanations, is to help readers understand how poems are written, learn to see symbolism in poems, get ideas for symbolism in poems, and learn how form affects poems.  Hopefully readers will enjoy the series.  Here is the first poem with an explanation:


A sledge hammer is swung,
a hope for the bell,
but the crowd roars.

No one counts,
a few slaps to the face,
here’s some water,
then hail stones fall.

A hope for cotton,
there it is,
dabbing a forehead,
pulling back,
the battering ram swings.

There on the ground,
amid the tiny particles,
there’s no darkness.

So there’s spinning,
and revolutions,
and there on the outside,
the former stands.

Looking in,
seeing nothing,
but a tap with a feather,
a shout,
and a force,
and then,
as h taps the shoulder,
an understanding,
and cotton flies.


This poem is about understanding the illness or physical pain of others.  Often when someone complains of illness or physical pain, it is easy to be dismissive.  It is easy to say, “That pain’s not real.  It’s not that bad.  It’s just in your head.  Just deal with it.”  It’s easy to be frustrated or annoyed with the illness or pain of another, if that illness or pain causes some inconvenience.  Obviously, these feelings are wrong, however, they can be easy to feel – until of course, a person stops and thinks back to a pain or illness they have had or felt and what it was like to hear dismissive words.  Then a sense of empathy can arise and feelings can change.

The poem uses a number of metaphors to express the main idea.  The main metaphor is that of boxing.  The poem uses boxing to describe an illness someone has and then to describe when they are on the other side of someone else’s illness.

The first stanza describes a boxer being hit and falling down.  The boxer is hoping the round will end, but it doesn’t.

In the second stanza, the boxer, after being hit, is hoping for the referee to count them out, so the match can be over.  Instead, they get to their feet, and go to their corner.  In their corner, their coach slaps them in the face a few times to wake them up and splashes some water on them.  The boxer goes back to fight and gets hit again.

In the third stanza, as the boxer is being hit, they are hoping their coach will throw in the towel.  Instead, when they look at their coach, their coach is using the towel to clear some sweat from their own forehead.  As the boxer glances, they are hit with a hard blow.

In the fourth stanza, the boxer is on the ground, but doesn’t pass out.  They are counted out, but still feel the pain.

In the fifth stanza, years go by and the boxer is now a coach standing on the ringside while their own fighter fights.

As they watch the fight, they see their boxer get hit, but think of the blows as not hurting.  They shout for their fighter to keep going and fight harder.  Then, they have a memory.  They think back to when they fought and what their coach had done.  As they feel a sense of hypocrisy, they feel an empathy for their fighter, and throw in the towel.